“Mark Critz has opposed efforts to repeal or defund ObamaCare 20 times.” That’s the message voters in Southwestern Pennsylvania are seeing on television this week thanks to a new ad from the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Having just knocked off fellow incumbent Democrat Congressman Jason Altmire in an extremely expensive and bruising primary in Pennsylvania’s 12th District, Mark Critz now faces Allegheny County businessman Keith Rothfus in a general election that will be a referendum on Critz’s continued support for ObamaCare.
Redistricting in Pennsylvania saw the two incumbent Congressmen drawn together into a new conservative leaning district that stretches from Beaver County eastward to Johnstown.
The Republican Keith Rothfus is a strong candidate having come within a hair of being elected in 2010. Rothfus lost by a margin of only 1.6% or 3,869 votes to Altmire in the old 4th District. While Altmire and Critz waged a knock down drag out primary with each spending well over a half million dollars to negatively define the other, Rothfus had no primary opponent, allowing him to stockpile resources and coalesce Republican support for his candidacy.
Now, Rothfus enters the 2012 general election against Critz as a seasoned candidate poised for success. His dedication to lower taxes, responsible government and strong values will resonate with voters in this Republican district that voted for both John McCain and George Bush.
In a district where President Obama is deeply unpopular, Critz will have to defend his tax and spend record of supporting the President’s job destroying economic agenda as well as his continued support for ObamaCare. In the 111th Congress Critz voted with Nancy Pelosi 95% of the time and in the 112th Congress he’s voted with Democrat leaders more than 75% of the time – not at all reflective of this conservative district’s values.
The NRCC television ad, launched a mere week after Critz won a primary that left his campaign broke and his image tarnished, has generated headlines like, “NRCC Ad Says Critz Supported ObamaCare 20 Times,” “GOP ads to hit Critz on health care,” and “NRCC Goes Up Early Against Mark Critz.” The ad begins with Critz saying, “It’s being said that I say one thing and do another,” and highlights how Critz first ran for Congress on his opposition ObamaCare yet once he got to Washington opposed efforts to repeal or defund ObamaCare more than 20 times.
If we learned anything in the primary it was that Critz is more interested in protecting his political career than pursuing a pro-growth agenda that puts Southwestern Pennsylvania first. The Rothenberg Political Report rates this race as a Pure Toss-Up and it is sure to be one of the highest profile races in the country this year.